Ancient Monuments

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Three bowl barrows 200m east of Manor Farm: part of a group of round barrows on Porton Down

A Scheduled Monument in Idmiston, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1238 / 51°7'25"N

Longitude: -1.7059 / 1°42'21"W

OS Eastings: 420681.346937

OS Northings: 136101.154104

OS Grid: SU206361

Mapcode National: GBR 50S.FJX

Mapcode Global: VHC37.D01S

Entry Name: Three bowl barrows 200m east of Manor Farm: part of a group of round barrows on Porton Down

Scheduled Date: 11 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013972

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26775

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Idmiston

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Idmiston with Porton Gomeldon St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes three bowl barrows, the most westerly of a group of at
least six round barrows which lie on the gentle south facing side of a dry
valley on Porton Down.
The largest, most southerly barrow has a flat topped mound 30m north-south by
28m, and 1.4m high. The slightly elongated profile of the mound has been
caused by cultivation and there are indications of disturbance to the south
and south east of its summit. Surrounding the mound, and clearly visible on
the south east side, is a ditch 4m wide and a maximum of 0.2m deep. Where not
visible on the surface the ditch will survive as a buried feature. Beyond
this, and corresponding with the best preserved section of ditch on the south
east side, are traces of a bank, 3m wide and 0.1m high.
To the NNE of the largest barrow is a smaller example with a mound 22m in
diameter and 0.8m high. To the east of this the third barrow has a low and
somewhat irregular mound 18m in diameter and 0.5m high. No trace of the
ditches surrounding these two mounds is visible but they will survive as
buried features c.3m wide.
Excluded from the scheduling are all archaeological site markers, although the
ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Since 1916 the Porton Down Range has been used for military purposes. As on
the Salisbury Plain Training Area, this has meant that it has not been subject
to the intensive arable farming seen elsewhere on the Wessex chalk. Porton, as
a result, is one of very few surviving areas of uncultivated chalk downland in
England and contains a range of well-preserved archaeological sites, many of
Neolithic or Bronze Age date. These include long barrows and round barrows,
flint mines, and evidence for settlement, land division and agriculture.
Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The three bowl barrows 200m east of Manor Farm, although not within the area
of uncultivated downland, are comparatively well preserved examples of their
class. Despite some erosion caused by cultivation, they still exhibit largely
original profiles and will contain archaeological remains providing
information about Bronze Age beliefs, economy and environment.

Source: Historic England

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